From skunks to limits, rockfish and salmon seasons open with mixed results

Monterey Bay

From skunks to limits, rockfish and salmon seasons open with mixed results
Angelrs aboard Santa Cruz Coastal Fishing Charters’ Knot Alone found plenty of king salmon action last Saturady. Captain Rodney Armstrong is averaging near limits all week.

by Allen Bushnell

Woo-hoo! Anglers all around the Monterey Bay are stoked to be fishing again. Everyone enjoyed the season openers this weekend. Rockfish started Friday and salmon season opened Saturday. Weather and ocean condition forecasts didn’t look so good for the weekend, but most boats found very fishable conditions despite a persistent swell and stiff winds all week, including overnight wind. In Santa Cruz, Bayside Marine owner Todd Frasier reported on Sunday, “Salmon fishing was hit and miss today for the anglers. There were fish caught on the east edge of the Soquel Hole. There were other anglers catching some fish near the Moss Landing Canyon. The anglers did find a few fish near Mulligan Hill. The majority of the salmon are being caught 25-80 feet down but there have been some caught 125-220 feet down. The wind was expected to be bad today but it was fine until 12:00.”
JT Thomas from Go Fish Santa Cruz is certainly glad to be back on the water doing what he does best: finding fish for the clients. The beautiful Miss Beth counted limits of rockfish for Friday’s trip, mostly reds from the North Coast area. On Sunday’s salmon trip JT and the crew got a slow start with no keepers until mid-morning. The bite picked up then and included a few fish in the high teens and low twenties, along with a couple smaller fish. “The salmon are really scattered,” said JT. “There’s no real bait balls, just a lot of bait all over the place. We finally found a couple small areas holding fish , then we worked fast.” A persistent and powerful west swell and high winds including overnight winds are likely reasons the bait and fish are so scattered. “These fish are moving fast, they’re up in the top water. All our fish were caught between 30 and 50 feet down. It may be the moon phase. We should see a much better bite over the next couple weeks, “JT added. 
Rodney Armstrong from Santa Cruz Coastal Fishing Charters gave his new boat Knot Alone its first salmon shakedown on Saturday. He bought the boat in Texas. Ain’t no salmon there. Armstrong reported, “Went pretty good today. First time the new boat has ever fished salmon. We went five for eight today. Great group of guys that know how to pull on fish.” Private boat reports ranged from total skunks to full limits before 9am both Saturday and Sunday. It really depended on where they were and how good the crew was. There’s a fair number of shakers in the mix and some hogs as well. Numerous salmon in the 20-pound range were caught this weekend, and at least one fish was weighed in on the Bayside Marine certified scale at 31 pounds. Hopefully the salmon will stick around and provide even better fishing as ocean and weather conditions ease over the next couple weeks.
In the meantime, fishing for rockfish and lingcod is going strong. Chris’ Fishing Trips in Monterey reported limits of rockcod up to 250 fish on Friday, along with five lings for the Check Mate. Private boaters are doing well for the cod also, with bigger fish coming more quickly from the more remote areas. Halibut are making an appearance at the 50-70 foot depths at the usual spots. In Monterey, DelMonte Beach and Sand City are always a good halibut bet. The flats outside of Moss Landing Harbor, especially towards the Pajaro Pipeline is a great place to hunt the for big flatties. And, in Santa Cruz we’ve received reports of halibut caught this weekend from both the Capitola area as well as the Mile Buoy area just off Santa Cruz Harbor.

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